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Is there a prototype for this doodlebug?

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Is there a prototype for this doodlebug?
Posted by John-NYBW on Sunday, June 19, 2022 9:38 AM

I saw this doodlebug offered on ebay:

HO New York Central Brill Doodlebug Locomotive #238 | eBay

What's curious about this is that there is no passenger compartment. It appears to be solely an express car. The seller's description is very sketchy and I'm guessing this as a flea market or train show find. It also looks to me like somebody modified and motorized a 60' Roundhouse baggage car to look like a doodlebug. In addition to the NYC lettering, it is lettered for the Wells Fargo Co. I can't imagine why any railroad, much less a giant like the NYC, would run an express only doodlebug. Am I wrong about that? Did Wells Fargo operate such cars?

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Posted by ndbprr on Sunday, June 19, 2022 9:47 AM

I do not know but it could be.  The railroads handled a lot of money and a dedicated self propelled car is not out of reason to service branch banks for Wells Fargo but my common sense say's it is a foobie.

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Posted by dehusman on Sunday, June 19, 2022 9:56 AM

It appears to be a Roundhouse Harriman baggage car with switcher drive installed under it.  The cab windows are just cut out openings in the shell.

The NYC probably had doodlebugs.  Full baggage doodlebugs were very rare.  Later doodlebugs had arch roofs.  It had feature  seen on some doodlebugs, but it is a freelance model and is not an exact model.

Dave H. Painted side goes up. My website : wnbranch.com

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Posted by SeeYou190 on Sunday, June 19, 2022 10:13 AM

dehusman
It appears to be a Roundhouse Harriman baggage car with switcher drive installed under it. 

I think this is exactly what the model is.

There would not be an exact protoype, it is missing too many required features to actually run looking like that. If you added some air intake grills, radiators, oil cooler, etc. it could be a better model. It might represent something that actually existed, but it cannot be an accurate model.

Anyway, it sure looks like something I would build, and I like it. I have fit good running mechanisms beneath boxcars, passenger cars, head end cars, and scratchbuilt abominations to create all kinds of characterful self-propelled cars.

-Photographs by Kevin Parson

John-NYBW
I saw this doodlebug offered on ebay.

It looks OK, and should run well and be easy to repair. If you like it, buy it.

-Kevin

Living the dream and happily modeling my STRATTON AND GILLETTE Railroad in HO scale. The SGRR is a freelanced Class A railroad as it would have appeared on Tuesday, August 3rd, 1954, in my personal fantasy world of plausible nonsense.

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Posted by gmpullman on Sunday, June 19, 2022 11:34 AM

I suppose the builder was aiming, or at least inspired by, something like this:

 NYC_M-10_tone2 by Edmund, on Flickr

I'm not aware of any "baggage/express" only cars on the NYC.

For someone on a budget the Bachmann EMC gas-electric would be a good starting point.

Once the branch-line passenger traffic dried up many roads rebuilt these units into specialized equipment such as this rail defect detector car:

 NYC rail detector car 1967 by Leon Kay, on Flickr

and some were built into Sperry detector cars:

 SRS 136 by Todd Dillon, on Flickr

Walthers offers a close fascimilie in their Sperry Car:

 Sperry_123 by Edmund, on Flickr

Good Luck, Ed

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Posted by John-NYBW on Sunday, June 19, 2022 12:54 PM

I was fairly certain it was a Roundhouse baggage car. I had a small fleet of their 60 footers on my previous layout and I have repurposed the coaches as my commuter cars on my current layout. I had a few baggage, combines, RPOs, diners and and obs that I have found uses for as well. I converted all the couplers to body mounts. They are an excellent choice for a small layout and they rarely derail which is more than I can say for a few high end brands. Before finding a used Walthers doodlebug on ebay, I was considering doing what was done to this car except I would have chosen the combine as the base for it. 

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Posted by CGW103 on Sunday, June 19, 2022 1:07 PM

The CGW #1000 was rebuilt into a switcher. It looked similer to that but not exact. It started life as a typical doodlebug but was rebuilt into a switcher. I am not sure any others were rebuilt. Used for branch line switching.

Mike

 

DrW
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Posted by DrW on Sunday, June 19, 2022 3:06 PM

A few comments. First (according to Wikipedia), while the company was founded in 1852 as "Wells, Fargo and Company" (as it is called on the doodlebug), it was already in 1866 renamed to "Wells Fargo". Furthermore, in WWI the WF express business was nationalized and became US REA; after the war, it was re-privatized as REA.

Second, the Santa Fe had a few baggage-and-mail-only doodelbugs, M160-M162 and the (to my knowledge) only articulated doodlebug, M190.

JW

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Posted by Overmod on Sunday, June 19, 2022 6:28 PM

CGW103
The CGW #1000 was rebuilt into a switcher. It looked similar to that but not exact. It started life as a typical doodlebug but was rebuilt into a switcher.

There was very little typical about that car, if it's the one I am thinking of.  First it was a McKeen car, then rebuilt with an EMC-style drivetrain, then rebuilt again as part of the first true mainline streamliner (the Blue Bird to the Mayo Clinic) and then again for the branch line service.  And it survives to this day, albeit more as a parts source for a more famous McKeen car than the piece of rolling history it ought to be.

I am not sure why any New York Central motorcar would be painted that shade of red.  And speaking of red, the eBay seller's listing directly after this car is for a PRR combine of similar foobitude, with road number 3908.  I don't remember any gas car in that series, let alone with that number.

I thought the express business was rolled into American Railway Express, which was renamed a few months before the Depression started, to REA.  Something like 83 separate railroads had shares in the ownership when REA was founded, reminiscent of the pro-rata railroad ownership of the post-breakup Pullman operating company and TrailerTrain later.

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Posted by wjstix on Tuesday, June 21, 2022 10:07 AM

Unfortunately I can't see the car (the link to ebay says it's closed) so I'm kinda going by comments already made.

Although it's solely known now as a banking company, Wells Fargo was for many decades primarily known as an express and stagecoach company. (The folks in the Music Man don't sing "the Wells Fargo wagon is a comin'" because it's a wagon with money for the local bank!) The rectangular Wells Fargo logo was a common site at western passenger depots and on express/baggage cars. As noted, the express part eventually became part of the REA.

I believe New York Central passenger cars were painted a dark red into the early years of the 20th century, before they all became Pullman green. Not sure if any early doodlebugs were ever painted in that color.

It was not unheard for a railroad to order a doodlebug set up just for express/baggage, sometimes with an RPO section. Unlike later RDCs, a doodlebug could pull one or two coaches behind it.

 

Stix
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Posted by BEAUSABRE on Tuesday, June 21, 2022 1:51 PM

Overmod
I am not sure why any New York Central motorcar would be painted that shade of red.  And speaking of red,

The Ulster and Delaware, which was absorbed by the NYC in the Depression, connected with the even more impoverished Delaware and Northern, which had a Brill motor car nicknamed the "Red Heifer". Today's tourist line Dealware and Ulster has the ex-NYC M406 painted in red and labeled as "The Red Heifer", So maybe the idea for red paint on the model came from there?

"The Delaware and Northern Railroad was a shortline in Delaware County that was formed in 1905, and was planned to go from East Branch, where it would make a connection with the New York, Ontario and Western Railway, to Arkville, where it would connect with the Ulster and Delaware. This line followed close to the banks of the East Branch of the Delaware River, and had plans of expansion, but never made it far, only getting to Arkville. The line was scrapped in 1942, when the Pepacton Reservoir took over its right-of-way, and forced the D&N to go out of business. Engine was built in 1902 for the Chicago & Eastern Illinois. It was always an underdog, which gives it some appeal.  They had dreams of connecting with the the coal region Schenectady. They only built between East Branch on the New York, Ontario & Western and Arkville on the Ulster & Delaware (with a branch to Andes).  It was started late in the railroad boom (actually, pretty much after it) in 1902, so was pretty ill-conceived.  It didn't bring prosperity to the area, area and only a small traffic base of farm, milk, and passenger traffic. About the only claim to fame was that they had a Brill motorcar as passenger counts declined, and it was known as the "Red Heifer". "

 So far as I know, the NYC's motor cars were painted green (you know someone will now come up with documentation that at least one that was red). The D&U car looks to my eye to be painted in Tuscan Red and, with the black roof, looks like something the PRR (prostrate yourself in the direction of Altoona at the mention of the Sacred Name) would have owned. I do admit, I like it. 

 

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Posted by John-NYBW on Tuesday, June 21, 2022 4:05 PM

wjstix

Unfortunately I can't see the car (the link to ebay says it's closed) so I'm kinda going by comments already made.

Although it's solely known now as a banking company, Wells Fargo was for many decades primarily known as an express and stagecoach company. (The folks in the Music Man don't sing "the Wells Fargo wagon is a comin'" because it's a wagon with money for the local bank!) The rectangular Wells Fargo logo was a common site at western passenger depots and on express/baggage cars. As noted, the express part eventually became part of the REA.

 

I first heard of Wells Fargo from the Dale Robertson TV series Tales of Wells Fargo. It was primarily about their stagecoach operations. I wasn't a regular viewer so I don't know if any of the episodes were about its business via rail. The series ran from 1957-1962. One of the religious cable channels still shows it. 

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Posted by wjstix on Wednesday, June 22, 2022 9:17 AM

John-NYBW
I first heard of Wells Fargo from the Dale Robertson TV series Tales of Wells Fargo. It was primarily about their stagecoach operations. I wasn't a regular viewer so I don't know if any of the episodes were about its business via rail. The series ran from 1957-1962.

Looks like there was an episode in series 4 called "The Train Robbery" so I guess at least one was about railroading. There was a series about the same time called "Stories of the Century" about a railroad detective in the old west working for a fictional railroad. It only lasted one season; however it did star Jim Davis who later played Jock Ewing on "Dallas".

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tales_of_Wells_Fargo

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_Tales_of_Wells_Fargo_episodes

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Stories_of_the_Century

Stix
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Posted by Tin Can II on Wednesday, June 22, 2022 11:52 AM

I don't have my copy of John McCall's book on Santa Fe doodlebugs handy, but I know that M122 was a mail/baggage/express doodlebug.  It pulled a trailer coach for passengers.  Later in life it served as the switch engine in Paris, TX before it was scrapped.

M160 still exists in operable condition at the Museum of the American Railroad.  It is painted in the silver warbonnet passenger scheme. 

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